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Valentine's Day in the UK

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Among those celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, the majority of shoppers (68%) are planning to eat at home, according to new shopper insights from research charity IGD.

Over a quarter of shoppers (26%) are planning to cater for a specific dietary requirement or preference. Of these, 10% are planning to cater for a vegetarian and 5% for a vegan. This is followed by 4% who will be having a dairy-free meal, 3% gluten-free and 3% sugar-free.
IGD’s Shopper Insight Manager Nicola Ball said, “During key seasonal events such as Valentine’s Day, there is a significant opportunity for products and recipes that cater to specific requirements.
“Whilst vegetarian and vegan options remain the most popular, there is also demand for free-from and sugar-free choices. Retailers and manufacturers are responding to this interest with new product launches including M&S’ heart-shaped ‘beet burger’”.
Of those planning to celebrate the occasion, a quarter (25%) claim they or their partner will cook an evening meal from scratch and 13% plan to buy a supermarket meal deal, such as a dine in for two meal offer. Those with children are more likely to be planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day with a supermarket meal deal, with 17% opting for this compared to 9% of those without children.
According to Nicola, meal for two ‘dine in’ offers continue to be a popular option at this time of the year, with a wide range of choice across the market:
“The popularity of supermarket meal deal mechanics, especially amongst families, reflects shoppers’ desire for both convenience and value, even during special occasions. In the current economic climate, shoppers remain cautious and are looking for ways to save money, so these options enable savvy shoppers to treat themselves but in an affordable way. 
“With 47% of shoppers saying they look out for promotions during seasonal events we know that price is a key factor in driving product choice, and this year we’re seeing a focus on retailers communicating discounts and offers, with the likes of Tesco and Aldi offering Valentine’s gift bundles.”
Despite a focus on breakfast Valentine’s products this year, with M&S’s ‘love sausage’ offer and a heart shaped brioche from Aldi, only 4% of shoppers celebrating the season claim that they or their partner will prepare a special breakfast on the day.
“Time optimisation and experimentation are both macro trends that are set to influence British grocery shoppers over the next five to ten years.  An expanded range of meal kits are likely to have high appeal at Valentine’s Day, providing a more convenient option for shoppers than cooking from scratch, and providing more opportunity for experimentation than ready prepared meals.”
Maddie Malone, Research Analyst at IGD, said:
“This Valentine’s Day in the UK retailers and brands have been seen working hard to broaden the appeal of the event and attract a less traditional audience. Seasonal twists across non-typical categories helps to tap into a wider demographic. For example, Heinz launched a ketchup caviar in time for Valentine’s Day, giving away jars to 150 winners who help promote the launch through using #HeinzKetchupCaviar. In a similar move, Colgate launched an Instagram-friendly Valentine’s themed toothpaste, a great example of innovation in a less traditional category.

“In a competitive market it is becoming harder to stand-out. Whilst particular categories hold relevance with certain events, novel twists provide an opportunity for a broader range of categories to earn a place in the basket.”

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